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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Recipes/Ingredients > Problems getting bitterness
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Old 11-27-2012, 11:47 PM   #1
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Default Problems getting bitterness

My beers have consistently turned out what I consider either barely bitter enough or slightly too sweet. I've tried to brew 2 IPAs now and neither one turned out bitter. It's possible that I have some problem with my taste buds, but I don't think so. DFH 60 and 90 minute IPA tastes a nice level of bitter to me, but I tried to brew a DFH clone, even adding an extra 10% of hops or so to be safe, and it turned out barely bitter enough to be called an IPA.

I thought it might be LHBS hops, so I bought some bulk hops from Farmhouse brewing. Same thing.

I thought it might be my water, so I tried using 100% glacier RO water. Same thing.

The LHBS guy told me maybe I'm not boiling hard enough, so I got a keggle and now I'm burning off 1.5-2 gallons per hour. Same thing.

About the only thing I can figure is that the Lowes paint strainer bags I use are causing it. But I see people on here who use hop bags and spiders.

Any suggestions? I'm seriously going to start doubling the hops from every recipe, but that gets expensive.

This is the latest recipe I brewed. Do you think this should turn out detectably bitter?

OG 1.072
FG 1.018

60min: 1oz Northern Brewer 10.5%
15min: 4oz Cascade 6%
5min: 1oz Chinook 11%

This was my previous attempt, which was also not bitter:

OG 1.060?
FG 1.011

60min: 1 oz Centennial 10.5%
30min: 1/2 oz Centennial 10.5%
10min: 1/2 oz Centennial 10.5%
5min: 1oz Centennial 10.5%

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Old 11-27-2012, 11:50 PM   #2
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An extra ounce of northern brewer will run you a buck. Will that break the bank?

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Old 11-27-2012, 11:53 PM   #3
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I know people say that the bags and spiders don't make you lose utilization but I had that problem using bags. Now I dump them in and it had made a huge difference. I would try without the paint strainer next time if possible to see if that's the issue.

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Old 11-28-2012, 12:07 AM   #4
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I would try brewing a small batch without the bags, if that fails try the ro water with some gypsum

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Old 11-28-2012, 12:08 AM   #5
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add a lil more hops to the bill and calculate the outcome. Also take good notes.

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Old 11-28-2012, 12:10 AM   #6
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An extra ounce of northern brewer will run you a buck. Will that break the bank?
No. At least I'm consistent this way, but it does make me wonder why all the recipes and calculators don't work for me.
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:10 AM   #7
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The bags have nothing to do with it.

What is your boil size / batch size? Are you topping off with additional water?

Typical grain bill?

Yeast used?

Any water treatments?

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Old 11-28-2012, 12:10 AM   #8
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I usually boil 7 gallons to make 5.

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Old 11-28-2012, 12:18 AM   #9
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No. At least I'm consistent this way, but it does make me wonder why all the recipes and calculators don't work for me.
Yea, I can see how that would be frustrating.

I don't know what to say. I use one of those bags too. Used it forever. I haven't had a problem.
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:18 AM   #10
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Since your FG's are getting low, my only guess is that water might help. Visit the water chemistry primer and try those additions to RO? It still doesn't seem like it should make that much difference.

You can boil without the bag and then strain through it (sanitize it first) when you rack/pour the wort into the fermenter (easy with a bucket).

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